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Topic: Uganda coffee article (87 lines)
1) From: Henry C. Davis
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Ugandan Coffee At Home in Japan
New Vision (Kampala)
NEWS
April 21, 2005
Posted to the web April 21, 2005
By Sylvia Juuko
Nagoya, Japan
A small chain of coffee shops dotted around Nagoya may be the answer to the
plummeting prices of coffee on the world market.
On a cold and wet Japanese morning, the Katsuhara's Café was a welcome
relief.
The ambiance of its warm, spacious and well-lit interior was accentuated by
the smell of roast Arabica coffee, Bugishu Arabica coffee I later learnt.
"Japanese have taken to drinking Ugandan coffee with gusto because it tastes
great," the proprietor, Tadashi Katsuhara, gushed.
"The coffee is excellent. When the elderly customers taste it, its nostalgic
for it reminds them of the coffee they took about 30 years ago.
"The caffeine levels do not remain in the body and they are conscious of
their health," he said.
Katsuhara said the coffee is all imported from Mbale in an interview over
hot steaming "Uganda Bugishu Elgon Coffee," the brand name of the coffee he
serves exclusively in 11 of his 27 shops in Nagoya, home of Toyota motor
company.
A full house is not unusual.
Katsuhara says between 200-300 customers patronise his coffee shops per day,
prompting him to consider opening two more coffee shops by around July.
He imports about 36 tonnes of coffee per year from Bugishu.
"I import coffee beans from Bugishu because it is organically grown," he
said.
At the ongoing 2005 World Exposition in Aichi, Japan, Katsuhara has
sponsored free coffee tasting at Uganda's stall to increase the coffee
brand's exposure.
This is a welcome development as Ugandan coffee is marketed as its own
brand, Uganda Bugishu Elgon Coffee, and not as a blend of other coffees.
A 200-gramme pack of the Uganda Bugishu Elgon Coffee brand fetches 600 yen
(sh110,000), while a cup of coffee at his coffee shops costs 300 yen
(sh55,000).
Katsuhara who launched his coffee processing business more than 30 years
ago, has been importing Ugandan coffee for the last six years.
He unveiled plans to set up a factory to process coffee from Mbale in two
years' time.
"I'm negotiating with Japan International Investment Bank to finalise plans
for a $100,000 (sh179m)coffee processing factory in Mbale," he said.
Katsuhara said this move would raise incomes for the farmers, who will be
able to sell coffee at 400 yen, up from the 50 yen, they are being paid by
coffee dealers.
"I promised the people of Mbale when I visited last year that the profits
made from the coffee factory will be used to build a school and I intend to
keep that promise," he asserts.
Katsuhara projects that Uganda's coffee has the potential to overtake market
leaders like Brazil and Columbia because it is organic.
"The Japanese government has regulated against products with high levels of
fertilisers. That is why over 100,000 tonnes of Brazilian coffee was sent
back because it had high levels of fertilisers. It is Uganda's chance to
exploit this market with organic coffee," Katsuhara said.
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